or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Personal Growth › Parenting and Rage
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Parenting and Rage - Page 83

post #1641 of 1766
Miss Information - I recognize so much of myself in your post that it's scary. Thanks for sharing your story. So, you feel better after just one EMDR session? I have complex PTSD too, and I know there are more of us on this thread. Would you tell us more about your experience with EMDR?

I am not doing too great today. My holiday just ended, and I started a new job today. It is fun and not too much stress, but the pressure of doing a new job well, while also having the kids at home, has turned me into an angry, unpleasant parent. I feel guilty. I know my triggers, and thought I had the situation under control - I get angry when I have financial stress, when my mother calls me, when I have stuff going on at work that stresses me. I also get angry when I feel trapped in my house.

I feel the anger coming on, and developed a strategy. I remember the source of the anger, take responsibility for my feelings, and refrain from taking it out on my kids. Normally, we remove ourselves from the situation - I take the kids for a walk, we go shopping, or visit friends. Well, that isn't possible when the weather is boiling hot as it is now, and you have kids with blonde hair and white skin that the sun burns easily. And, I have work to do.

My new job is actually taking less of my time than I thought so far (I think I can work three hours a day and be done with it), and it is great. So why am I angry again?
post #1642 of 1766
MittensKittens -

I am a bit surprised to that I feel better after only one emdr session. It *could* be because we used my most recent "meltdown" for the the imagery and the simple 'confession' of it to a 'professional' helped. I don't know.

This was what happened that we tried EMDR on:

"Middle child’s non-stop talking was driving me up a wall. But it’s not that she just talks – I think I could handle it if she just talked. She also screeches, shrieks, trills, sings, and babbles nonsense too. The girls really needed to be outside, because they were annoying each other at lunchtime, but it was extremely hot and humid. The yard by their swing set is over-run by weeds that i never got to yesterday. Neither husband or I ever attends to it. It really terrible. And it’s just one more thing around here in a list of things that makes me feel guilty because it is physical evidence of my reduced daily functioning caused by low energy and what I thought was a simple depression (it’s much more complicated than that).

My middle daughter was whining about this that and the other and then came out and said about helping clean her sister’s room was not fair.

I was picking up clothes in the bathroom nearby and I went completely nuclear. I yelled back at her, “well, I never wanted kids…so hows THAT for not being fair” which is HORRID thing to say to your children. I was so horrified at my own ability to say that to my children that I retreated downstairs burning with shame and feeling residual anger.

I had a cascade of wretched thoughts and feelings. I thought about killing myself, since I can't seem to get a hold on my over-reactions to their normal but obnoxious kid behavior. Not just because of this one incident, but because I over-react to a LOT of their misbehaviors even though I do NOT want to. I don't physically hurt them...I usually hit my hands on surfaces or yell at them.

Anyway, I just had 1 image in mind during the EMDR - my girls' rather stunned expressions, and I didn't really feel much except an overwhelming sadness and shame and one thought which was: "What kind of mother would say something like that to her children!!!!", and I cried. I'm not even sure I cried after it happened. I don't remember."


When the EMDR was over the psychiatrist asked me if it was true - if I really did not want to have children.

I said that it was a statement when I was a teenager/young adult as a result of all the fighting that went on in my family, but it was NOT true when I became a mother. I did, in fact, want my children, very much. But that it was very hard.

She also asked me about the suicidal thoughts. She asked me how far I thought out the process (whether it was just vague thoughts or a specific plan). I told her that it was pretty specific, and followed through to the end. I said, that's part of the reason that I don't do it. Too messy, too painful, if I missed I could be a vegetable. She didn't rush to suggest medications (she can't prescribe them anyway), and seemed to be okay with my responses.

A friend of mine said maybe it was less the EMDR and more bringing out into the light my 'secrets' and my 'shame'.

I guess if you can admit 1) a specific instance of rage and 2) suicidal ideations to a professional and you not getting into trouble with it...it's rather relieving.

But, beyond that...

I haven't felt overwhelmed...or too tired...or too stuck in my thoughts...I've felt more motivated...well, at least motivated enough to keep plugging away at stuff. I organized my bathroom, my car, weeded (some), planted seeds.

Partly because I've gained in functionality, I'm feeling more self-esteem, seeing areas of order is making me want to see more.

I feel in some ways, less self-critical, more self-forgiving.

I think some of the rage comes out when we feel ashamed of ourselves and our previous behaviors. When we get reminded of our shame, the rage comes out to keep people from looking at it too closely.

(no that isn't just my thoughts...I'd read it in different places).

I also watched a Discovery Health program called Enraged, about parental rage. It was scary how much I related to it and how much I DON'T want to go back to that.

And in general, being more mindful of how my negative thoughts spiral out of control...and replace them with more forgiving thoughts.

It's hard to be nice to others when you're hating on yourself, you know? At least I feel that way.
post #1643 of 1766
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
None of us are perfect mom. You will be exactly the mom your child needs you to be. And you will grow and learn alongside your child. It is a relationship, not a job. You don't get a grade, reward or failure notice. You just do the best you can. It is hard. And fun. And you learn and grow.

Pat
Thanks Pat. I was reading these responses about trauma and so on, and getting quite mired in my fears, etc.

I've been going to counselling lately as my anxiety and depression symptoms have come up more again during this pregnancy. One thing my pdoc and counsellor keep repeating to me, is that I seem to be stuck in certain traumas. I have PTSD and dissociation, rage, etc. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than before, when I was not on medication.

When I moved out from home as a teenager I thought I processed all my trauma stuff (went to therapy for years, etc).

The truth of the matter is, here I am now as a parent... maybe it's time to re-process in this new light. I have never processed my trauma as a parent before.

There are SO many times during therapy sessions when the counsellor says I am doing a good job, but inside I have this ENORMOUS BATTLE within me... fighting myself and trying to gain self-control or regain it. It's exhausting.

I love my children very much and am afraid one day they are going to turn around and say that they hate me. I don't want that. The counsellor says that sounds like a self-esteem issue.

So I think it'll be back to trauma counselling for me too. She says when I'm triggered I should just walk away from dd1 (who plays my buttons like a keyboard ) and take care of myself. Then when I calm down, I can attend to her.

I've learned a lot from this thread here, and other resources. The thing is, I am so tired doing all this heavy thinking and reprogramming of mind type work. But what's the alternative? I don't want to traumatize my children.

As I am nearing the end of my pregnancy, I am finding my emotions all over the place again. Sigh. And therapy brings up a lot of things I didn't want to think about anymore.

But the good thing too is that it makes me realize that I am NOT my father, that my children are growing up in a safer home (they don't have to wake up at night and hear rape, or crazy enraged arguing, or watch their father beat up their brother, or get trapped and beaten up by their brother). Their father is completely different than my father was in certain ways, that I am not my father. That was my biggest fear, that I would pass on the cycle of abuse through anger, like my father and borderline grandmother.

I am sometimes more critical or negative than I would like to be... but lots of times I am a good parent. It's a leap of faith to parent.

There are some things my daughter says that really trigger me, and I have to keep working on that. Parenting is a journey that lasts the rest of our lives and you're so right Pat, it's something we grow with and develop with. We are in a state of development, just like our children.
post #1644 of 1766
Can I just say this thread is extremely inspiring? Reading how you are all working on yourselves, and how you are all trying to be the best parents you can be, is really awesome! Parenting can bring out the best and the worst in all of us, but for us with traumas, it is even more challenging.

EDMR seems to have really worked for you, Miss Information (I LOVE your username BTW ). It is wonderful you are feeling better. Perhaps I will try it too.

We just left the house for a while, because rage was eating at me, and now I am back, it's better. I think the key to controlling our anger is recognizing our triggers.
post #1645 of 1766
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
None of us are perfect mom. You will be exactly the mom your child needs you to be. And you will grow and learn alongside your child. It is a relationship, not a job. You don't get a grade, reward or failure notice. You just do the best you can. It is hard. And fun. And you learn and grow.

Pat
I really, really want to believe this. But with the way my own mother was, she never got to the place you are talking about. I'm scared to death that I'll be just like her.

Many times, I have had to try to "parent" my mother, trying to get her to take care of my younger siblings(all over 18 now) or be responsible for bills and such. I have tried to step in and "parent" my younger siblings, trying to get them to finish high school. Or just get as far from that house as possible. DH says that this alone makes me so different from my mother. He says my mom hides from problems, and I tackle them head on. This is a big difference between us, but what if I'm not different enough?

I struggle with this so much, sometimes I think think that it would be better to not have any kids at all if I'm going to be anything like her. Then I think of how much I've changed. Does everyone go through this emotional struggle when deciding to have children?

Anyway, sorry for hijacking the thread.
post #1646 of 1766
Surfacing...

You do NOT have to revisit the memories in order to move on, especially since you've done that already.

You can read quite a bit about 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery here on google docs.

Oh...let me see if I can pull up a video clip too. see if this works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhuzpUlaX_k

And, quite honestly ALL therapists are NOT created equal. I have two therapists actually, one for the couples' therapy (who also did the EMDR on me separately) and one for the individual who I'm going to drop after today, simply because he is treating trauma differently and, well, has no concept of what it's like to mother children, breastfeed, or anything else maternal oriented. My couple's therapist is a mother herself, is really into mindfulness/Buddhist meditations and such.

There's such a stark difference between the two therapists (which is why I'm dropping the one guy after today (insurance covers three sessions completely so I'm just going a head with today's session).

oh, and my daughter told me (once and only once) that she hated me...when she was 4. If our children get out of childhood without saying they hate us at least once, maybe they got off too easy. Placing limits on kids is no fun for them...and one day they just might say they hate us (but what they really mean is that they hate the limits). But remember, happy is not the only acceptable emotion. The ANGER itself is not the problem, the AGGRESSION that goes along with it that is the problem. which reminds me of an article I read

Quote:
As a response to being wronged, anger is a boundary-setter that says, “Stop! I can’t tolerate this,” or, “This isn’t working for me.” It is not blaming the other or shaming the self. Often experienced first as a contraction in the throat, chest, stomach, or abdomen and a clenching of the fist, anger may be associated with the words “I can’t go on like this” seared into the mind.
http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.ph...=3500&Itemid=0

Lots of other good articles about Mindfulness in the March 2010 of the magazine Shambala Sun.


Quote:
Anger has unfortunately been confused or conflated with aggression, hatred, or rage—some of its more destructive siblings. Many people make the mistake of pushing away anger, being afraid that it will be destructive if expressed. Some may hyper-value silence as though it were its own virtue. Others may express aggression, blame, anxiety, or rage instead of anger. But if you have the skill to feel your feelings with a gentle acceptance of them), you are less likely to dissociate from your feelings or distance yourself from another in times of anger. You won’t have to hide your anger from yourself and you can learn about speaking it honestly and kindly—and about inquiring into your beloved’s anger at you.
Mittens Kittens - thanks. I love cats so I love your username too.
post #1647 of 1766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abvnx View Post
I really, really want to believe this. But with the way my own mother was, she never got to the place you are talking about. I'm scared to death that I'll be just like her.

Many times, I have had to try to "parent" my mother, trying to get her to take care of my younger siblings(all over 18 now) or be responsible for bills and such. I have tried to step in and "parent" my younger siblings, trying to get them to finish high school. Or just get as far from that house as possible. DH says that this alone makes me so different from my mother. He says my mom hides from problems, and I tackle them head on. This is a big difference between us, but what if I'm not different enough?

I struggle with this so much, sometimes I think think that it would be better to not have any kids at all if I'm going to be anything like her. Then I think of how much I've changed. Does everyone go through this emotional struggle when deciding to have children?

Anyway, sorry for hijacking the thread.

That's okay. We all run the risk of being like our mothers (even if they were NICE!)

The thing of it is...you are 1 step ahead of your own mother. You are AWARE of the downfalls. You CAN take steps now, before becoming a mother, that could help.

We are the 'transitional generation'. Our kids will have it better. The cycle HAS been broken.

The abuse is past. You survived it. Remember that. We all SURVIVED it. We are here now able to discuss some of the horrible things that happened, because we GOT AWAY from it. Yes, maybe it took a lot of fighting to get out of that situation. But we made it. You made it. We can stop being scared. We can choose to respond differently. It's in you. I know it is...because it's in me too.

We are stronger than our fears. We truly are. We are amazing to have come out of those dark places. It's time to really believe that.
post #1648 of 1766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
That's okay. We all run the risk of being like our mothers (even if they were NICE!)

The thing of it is...you are 1 step ahead of your own mother. You are AWARE of the downfalls. You CAN take steps now, before becoming a mother, that could help.

We are the 'transitional generation'. Our kids will have it better. The cycle HAS been broken.

The abuse is past. You survived it. Remember that. We all SURVIVED it. We are here now able to discuss some of the horrible things that happened, because we GOT AWAY from it. Yes, maybe it took a lot of fighting to get out of that situation. But we made it. You made it. We can stop being scared. We can choose to respond differently. It's in you. I know it is...because it's in me too.

We are stronger than our fears. We truly are. We are amazing to have come out of those dark places. It's time to really believe that.

Thanks. DH and I have been reading some parenting books lately. Attached at the Heart, for one. In the first chapter, it covered abusive practices in parenting. It triggered some childhood memories and I couldn't stop crying for the rest of the night. It really shook my confidence. I was thinking that since I am looking for better, non-violent ways to parent, that I would be different. I was really shaken after that chapter and have had a hard time getting back to the more hopeful, confident place.

Even with this fear, I'm still excited about the idea of starting a family. That is kind of a new thing for me. It used to be met with pure fear. It feels good to be kind of hopeful about it. I keep switching between hopeful and fear. I try to think of just taking this parenting stuff one day at a time, that helps a lot.

Anyway, thanks again
post #1649 of 1766
I agree, I found it enlightening and traumatizing to do counseling. At some point it was just focusing on the negative and the past. I chose to focus in the moment and being in the moment, rather than dwelling in the past.

That allowed me to see that my mother/father did do the best that they could, they didn't change. My perception was expanded by becoming an imperfect mother, like/not like my mother. We can't not be that which we are. We are a part of all that we have met. I choose to focus on meeting calmer, more compassionate people. We choose our family, as adults. I chose different people for my "family". I created my own experience separate from my past, although, not.

Self-talk is everything. If you think you are doing a shitty job, you are your worst counselor, ime. I find people who nourish and encourage and inspire me. I don't compare myself as their history is different than the journey of my childhood. But, again, I realize now, that my parents did the best they could. I can't imagine what they experienced as children!

Compassion for their experience helped me to have compassion for my own parenting imperfections. Perspective is gained by parenting oneself and one's children.

It is just a journey. I am grateful for the childhood I have experienced. I am a stronger and wiser woman for it. And a more compassionate mother.

Pat
post #1650 of 1766
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
But, again, I realize now, that my parents did the best they could. I can't imagine what they experienced as children!

Compassion for their experience helped me to have compassion for my own parenting imperfections. Perspective is gained by parenting oneself and one's children.

It is just a journey. I am grateful for the childhood I have experienced. I am a stronger and wiser woman for it. And a more compassionate mother.

Pat
I think I could have been a strong and wise woman without the abuse.

I don't ever say they did they best they could. It really bother's me when people say that.

I think they could have done better. THEY could have gone to therapy. THEY could have stopped the alcohol abuse. THEY could have stopped dragging us kids into their fights. They could have stopped the mental games. They could have chose to NOT hit me. They could have done things differently. I begged my mother to go to therapy, and to take my younger sister too. She never would. Instead, when I was 18, I took my younger sister to see a therapist, and I got into trouble for it for airing our dirty laundry.

They were adults...not me. And they acted in THEIR best interests, not ours.

I don't have really much feeling towards my mother. Not love, not hate. Indifferent. In fact, I only have a relationship at all because of my siblings and nieces and nephews. I tolerate them because they've stopped abusing us. But they could have done that a LONG time ago, when I lived with them.

I have compassion for myself because I need to be the mother to me I needed.

Sinead O'Conner's This is to Mother You.

This is to mother you
To comfort you and get you through
Through when your nights are lonely
Through when your dreams are only blue
This is to mother you
This is to be with you
To hold you and to kiss you too
For when you need me I will do
What your own mother didn't do
Which is to mother you
All the pain that you have known
All the violence in your soul
All the 'wrong' things you have done
I will take from you when I am come
All mistakes made in distress
All your unhappiness
I will take away with my kiss, yes
I will give you tenderness
For child I am so glad I've found you
Although my arms have always been around you
Sweet bird although you did not see me
I saw you
And I'm here to mother you
To comfort you and get you through
Through when your nights are lonely
Through when your dreams are only blue
This is to mother you
post #1651 of 1766
^^^EXACTLY!

My mother *knew* she was doing wrong.

When I would cry and say "you're hurting me" she would say "good! it's supposed to hurt!"

I can't even count how any times I was told to "never tell anyone" because I would be "taken away". So I kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to loose my siblings and my dad. My mother could have done better, but she didn't care about me(I heard he say so). She was more interested in sleeping and shopping. Most of us learned to stay away from her.

I still can't get over the fact that she did those things because she really wanted to hurt me. I still love her sometimes. I'm not even sure why.
post #1652 of 1766
I understand. I'm sorry you had that experience. {{{hug}}}

The book by Thich Nhat Hanh, "Peace Is Every Step" helped me with the pain of the past. I was bringing the pain into my present. There is an interconnectedness of my pain to my parent's upbringing, you see. They, like many of us here, had the same rage, inexplicable, sometimes uncontrollable, seemingly "unforgivable". But, it is just a part of the parent, not the whole parent, just a crazy part that releases the rage, not the core parent, not the loving parent. The rage came from their own wicked experiences. When we can forgive ourselves, we can find the path to loving ourself, the whole self, not just judging our actions. THAT changes our ability to respond to our child. It is painful to think that my mother was unable to do that, to release her painful past, in order to be present with us as children, lovingly.

There is nothing to forgive, she couldn't have done differently than she did. When we look at our own reactions, we see the helplessness of responding in abject exhaustion and anger, not at the child, we realize that (too late sometimes).

I've not hit my child, but have yelled at him, angry angry words. Not words of hate. I understand that must feel horrible to do. See, we are our mother and yet we make progress. They were their mother, you see? That is what THEY experienced as children. We learn what we live. When we can move past the blame, we can forgive and trust that we are all doing the best we can. That shifts the anger toward a child for the broken glass, the loud nightwakenings, the sassing, the triggers we learned in our own childhood. Those don't trigger me anymore, most of the time. But, when exhausted and unsupported and alone, we (our mother and we) rage. We can move through that by releasing the anger at our mother/ourself. Loving ourself, as the song suggests, with tenderness.

It takes time and patience with yourself. Judgment doesn't help.

Pat
post #1653 of 1766
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
I understand. I'm sorry you had that experience. {{{hug}}}

The book by Thich Nhat Hanh, "Peace Is Every Step" helped me with the pain of the past. I was bringing the pain into my present. There is an interconnectedness of my pain to my parent's upbringing, you see. They, like many of us here, had the same rage, inexplicable, sometimes uncontrollable, seemingly "unforgivable". But, it is just a part of the parent, not the whole parent, just a crazy part that releases the rage, not the core parent, not the loving parent. The rage came from their own wicked experiences. When we can forgive ourselves, we can find the path to loving ourself, the whole self, not just judging our actions. THAT changes our ability to respond to our child. It is painful to think that my mother was unable to do that, to release her painful past, in order to be present with us as children, lovingly.

There is nothing to forgive, she couldn't have done differently than she did. When we look at our own reactions, we see the helplessness of responding in abject exhaustion and anger, not at the child, we realize that (too late sometimes).

I've not hit my child, but have yelled at him, angry angry words. Not words of hate. I understand that must feel horrible to do. See, we are our mother and yet we make progress. They were their mother, you see? That is what THEY experienced as children. We learn what we live. When we can move past the blame, we can forgive and trust that we are all doing the best we can. That shifts the anger toward a child for the broken glass, the loud nightwakenings, the sassing, the triggers we learned in our own childhood. Those don't trigger me anymore, most of the time. But, when exhausted and unsupported and alone, we (our mother and we) rage. We can move through that by releasing the anger at our mother/ourself. Loving ourself, as the song suggests, with tenderness.

It takes time and patience with yourself. Judgment doesn't help.

Pat
It's this thinking that has helped me immensely, actually. I know that my father's life was far from "easy" and it occurs to me that it was probably worse than what he was like with his kids. I can't even imagine that. That really, really scares and saddens me. My poor father. Does it excuse his actions? Not by a long shot. But it does give me a reason and insight into the man he was. And knowing how much *I* have improved on what his parenting was makes me even more sad for him and what he experienced.
I was angry for a long time. Now I'm mostly just sad for all we lost and for the people we could have been.
post #1654 of 1766
yes, they were children when they experienced the pain. I have compassion for that, just as I have compassion for myself, when I am triggered by my past. It doesn't go away with judgment, it does abate and fade with understanding, the anger is released, THAT helped my son. And me.

Pat
post #1655 of 1766
My mom was never aggressive. There was a lack of parenting in many areas, under the guise of "putting responsibility into my hands", and a lot of inappropriate behavior (which I have come to accept, I am working hard on accepting my mother for who she is, though not to forgive), but no aggression. The anger is all mine.

Anger for what happened to me as a young teen, anger rooted in mistakes I made, and as a part of PTSD. My grandfather, who was the most awesome person in the world, also had the problems I had. He suffered from PTSD too, actually due to similar events that caused mine. Funny how things can skip a generation. After doing family constellations therapy, I wonder if it is connected somehow. But I digress... if my kids struggle with anger later on, it's my fault. It's not a case of healing this generation. I am doing new damage. Which is why I feel so terrible about it.

I am not doing well today. I am working hard to keep the anger under control, but I am not doing such a great job. Does anyone have tips? It's not anger triggered by any single thing my kids do, it is a constant, that has nothing to do with them. How do I stop myself from taking it out on them, effectively.

Another thing, that is hard to admit. I hardly ever get angry at my son. It is always my daughter. And I know that it is, in part, because she reminds me so much of myself.
post #1656 of 1766
Stop believing in "fault", compassion comes from understanding. Fault has no benefit to anyone, in my experience. Understanding comes from awareness, attention, caring. Awareness, attention and caring change my 'next time'. Blame ignites, it doesn't soothe anger.

Behavior is just a message of underlying needs. When there is anger, there is a reason, a need. Listen deeply for that need. It is not our child's role to meet our needs. We must do that for ourselves, by asking for help. That was the hardest step for me. It felt like "failure" to not be able to do everything myself. I've learned that mothering is not meant to be done alone. It is not natural to parent alone, it is not necessary, nor heroic or "better" to parent without asking for help.

Changing my expectations of myself was quite a journey. I learned a helluva lot of expectations from my parents, my mother's voice became my self-talk. I quit that shit. Started listening to different people, those who were aware, attending and caring. (not that my mother wasn't those things too, but the expectations and blame/shame were very heavy to carry as a child. They were the voices of her parent's, her self-talk).

I broke that cycle by realizing I could choose my thoughts. I quit berating and faulting and blaming and shaming myself with their words. Instead, I choose to focus on encouraging and supportive and affirming self-talk. Those words which represent my best self. I am listening to those words, daily as my self-talk now. They come out of my mouth to our son, encouraging, supportive, affirming. Feels a helluva lot better all around.



Pat
post #1657 of 1766
I don't think forgiveness of the parents is necessary. I don't mean to say you have to hold onto the anger either. There is a problem, now. However you got to where you are now, you are here. Self-affirming talk IS critical.

The woman therapist listened to what happened empathically. She doesn't cast blame, but she does acknowledge that what happened back then affects me now. She knows it goes beyond a simple attachment disorder (I have that too) and into the PTSD.

Whatever problems my mom had dissolved when my grandfather died and she inherited his money. I do not think my mother had PTSD. I think she had a case of narcissism and megalomania. It was always about money/power/control.

So...should we forgive BP for the oil spill? And Hitler for the Holocaust (supposedly he was beaten as a child too - just read For Their Own Good by Alice Miller), Bernard Madoff for his investment scheme? I don't think I have to forgive them either for what they'd done. I don't actively hold hatred in my heart for them. But I can still hold them "responsible" for a great deal of grave damage to humanity and the earth.

I don't think I have to forgive my mother for what she did to me. I can detach from what she did to me so that it doesn't hurt, and I can learn all I can about what constitutes good, healthy mothering, and get help for myself so I don't get so angry.

Mittens Kittens - how do you stop yourself from taking it out on your child?
When you wake up in the morning tell yourself this: "I have a choice how I respond to my anger. I am stronger than I think I am. I always have a choice". My guess is that you believe you don't have any choice but to respond the way you always do.

Being aggressive is about feeling powerless. I think you would agree. We go on the defensive when we are feeling vulnerable and weak. Animals attack when they are hurting. So, we need to empower you to feel strong.

I don't know for anyone else, but giving up my career (willingly) for my children had the inadvertent effect of closing off contact with most other adults, removing a major source of stimulation, and made me feel trapped. So I'm not just dealing with family of origin issues, but a whole shift in my experience. It was very unsettling. That's complicated things too. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one for whom life had changed drastically once they became mothers or they quit their jobs to stay at home with their children.

If you can at all swing it, try to get some therapy. Look for client-centered therapy (versus CBT therapy - I found out yesterday the difference between the two therapists) and if possible someone specializing in trauma therapy using EMDR.

Client- (or person-) centered therapy is more empathic, more understanding, uses more active listening and promotes attachment.

For now, you can read through this:

http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/

I like it because it seems very much like a "how-to" do mindfulness (aka awareness). How to change habitual rapid (and negative) responses. It also seems very straightforward and detailed. I think it's pretty amazing myself. If you can get it printed out, and put in a binder, where you can read it when you feel stress coming on, it would help.

It is about noticing your anger and irritation when it is small and manageable. NOT when it's gotten bigger than you are. Most times we ignore the signs of irritation and we let it get bigger than we are.

When you are at your worst, you can say to yourself.

"I know you are suffering...I am here for you".

Mindfulness is a re-training of our minds and NOT ignoring what our body is telling us.

I like the above link because there is a section where it cautions about trying mindfulness before you are ready will tend to make things worse or create new problems. There are additional resources there for survivors of trauma.

For anyone interested, there's a summary here of Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery - though I will say that in the 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery, reconstructing what happened is NOT necessary and can actually be unsafe.

I know if I don't get enough REGULAR sleep (and I get insomnia from time to time and go to bed anytime between 10 and 1:30), don't get enough to eat, or I am running late to do anything, I will be challenged. Doesn't matter by what. I will find my temper flaring.

When I was running late the day of my first individual therapy session, I was stuck behind a gas tanker on a two lane road with my kids when I was trying to drop them off to the babysitter, I was yelling obscenities, getting angrier by the second and hitting my hand on my steering wheel HARD. Well...I broke on of the buttons on the steering wheel AND I hurt my hand (not very smart on both counts). AND my kids had to witness my flip-out session. Since then, I've had a few therapy sessions, the EMDR, AND I made sure I've been eating and planning my time better so as not to be late.

My middle daughter would have awful temper tantrums and meltdowns. She is also the one MOST like me (highly gifted, highly emotional, low tolerance for frustration) and the one who'd trigger me the most. Unlike me though, she had selective mutism which is a social anxiety disorder. We had a LOT of challenges with that. She started improving when I got her SM resolved - through sensory therapy, through early intervention preschool, and changing my lens from one of detachment to one of attachment. She always acts better the more hugs and time I spend focused on her. After two years from diagnosis to now, the SM has fully resolved. But she still whines and falls apart and gets irritated from time to time - only they are 5 minutes, not 20 minutes like they used to be.

She is much better when she is well rested and has protein to eat. Part of her temper flares due to reactive hypoglycemia - she just burns through her energy stores and has a drop in blood sugar.

Think about your own diet - if it's high in sugar and low in complex carbs and protein, or high in caffeine, you might be setting yourself up for a tough time.

Sometimes I'd get so stuck in negativity that I'd forget to eat. Sometimes I wouldn't like what we had to eat so I wouldn't eat (which incidentally my daughter says the same thing from time to time).

Other things I can think of...what to you do to relax? Try sensory calming activities - your favorite music, going swimming, get you and the kids OUTSIDE in NATURE, take a 20 minute power nap, go for a walk (with/without the kids). Since I have 3 daughters, I find that I enjoy going on mommy and me dates with them individually once a month - focusing on them and remembering what it is about them that makes them unique. I'd gotten away from that for a while. It helps THEIR behavior to have mommy's undivided attention. It helps remind me of their charming qualities, which seem to be lacking when they are all together.

******

Einstein is credited with the phrase, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results".

So, you know that what you are doing now doesn't work and feeds into your negativity. So it's time to try other things. And take care of you and your needs.

Big hugs.
post #1658 of 1766
Thanks so much, Miss Information

Quote:
Mittens Kittens - how do you stop yourself from taking it out on your child?
When you wake up in the morning tell yourself this: "I have a choice how I respond to my anger. I am stronger than I think I am. I always have a choice". My guess is that you believe you don't have any choice but to respond the way you always do.
That's the thing. I do know I have a choice, and I do take responsibility for my feelings and actions. I know my triggers, and know what to do about it (physically removing myself from the situation works best - for instance, if working on an article while my kids are constantly asking me to come and play drives me up the wall, taking them to the park solves the anger. When the deadline is really close, I can't do that though!).

I'll be reading your post, and the links you posted, but I'm terribly tired now.

How is everyone else coping today?
post #1659 of 1766
This is an interesting article about 'Learning To Breathe' and our children teaching us. http://www.staceycurnow.com/blog/201...ng-to-breathe/


Pat
post #1660 of 1766
Mittens Kittens -

Take your time getting to read that stuff. If you'd like, you can PM me and I'll give you my email address. Then, perhaps you can email me when you are feeling stressed out. That'll give you another option.

It sounds to me, that you have trouble controlling the impulses to 'act out' your anger. Maybe instead of restraining it...find ways to do it safely.

Maybe you can find something useful here

Anger: Deal with It, Heal with It, Stop it from Killing You, by William Defoore. It's on google books so you can read a lot of it there.

Yes...I'd been struggling for the past 6 years with anger. It waxed and waned and waxed again over the years. I'd been doing lots to read up on everything I could to help.


I got from my library yesterday a copy of a book called Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt.

I am pretty amazed by it.

You can read the first chapter here:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/read...8825765&page=1

It weaves personal stories with attachment theory and brain development and how the strong cultural myths of the ideal/perfect mother prevents most people from making any kind of negative criticism about their mothers and perpetuates a lot of pain and prevents real healing.


I found myself relieved that they acknowledged this (emphasis mine):

Quote:
A major study reported in 2005 by Ranae J. Evenson and Robin W. Simon confirmed what other studies had found before: unlike other adult roles such as marriage and employment, parenthood did not appear to confer any mental health advantage. To the contrary, childless adults were far less likely to suffer from depression than their peers with children. In addition, they discovered that mothers with minor children were the group most likely to be depressed, a finding they attributed to the emotional benefits of parenting being "cancelled or exceeded" by the emotional costs associated with the role. Not surprisingly, single parents were more likely to be depressed than their married peers, because of decreased economic and social resources. Fathers were less likely to be depressed than mothers, unless another factor was added in, such as unemployment.
I related to this very much and have expressed similar views:

Quote:
Not even therapy makes it easy to untangle what the culture tells us a daughter should feel for her mother from what she does feel. One woman confides that " I have more insight into how her life influenced who she is and I am able to understand that she has to own it or not because it's not mine to own. What gets in my way is that I can understand all the dynamics on an intellectual level, but it's a long way to owning it on an emotional level because of the damage the past has done to my spirit. It very much feels like I am stuck in a developmental stage. I am seeing lots of improvement with therapy, but the old wounds bleed when I am fatigued.
I even learned something I didn't know:

Quote:
Patterns of relationship in families are tenacious precisely because they are establish both on a behavioral and physical level; research on the development of the brain during infancy and childhood, and the formation of the self, has both confirmed the basic tenets of attachment theory and expanded its implications.
So yeah...I don't doubt you are struggling. It's not your fault you can't release yourself from old patterns even though you intellectually "know better", Mittens Kittens. It really isn't.

Just so you know, whatever you are struggling with. I don't judge you. I've been there too.

But, it doesn't have to be solved right now. Even if you have to go to your room and scream into a pillow, instead of at your kids...

Some of that stress and pain has to come out.

And, no matter where you are now...even though you can't undo the past, you can work on the present. You can even start over from today, being kinder to yourself and your children.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Personal Growth
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Personal Growth › Parenting and Rage